Knowledge management and organizational learning

This article, by William R. King, is presented as part of the pre-reading for the AEA17 flipped conference session: Moving from knowing about an evaluation method to knowing how to use it well.

Key points

(Notes from Jane Davidson:)

  • There are: "“know what,” “know how” and “know why” levels of knowledge."
  • "“Know what,” knowledge specifies what action to take when one is presented with a set of stimuli. For instance, a salesperson who has been trained to know which product is best suited for various situations has a “know-what” level of knowledge."
  • "The next higher level of knowledge is “know-how” – i.e., knowing how to decide on an appropriate response to a stimulus. Such knowledge is required when the simple programmable relationships between stimuli and responses, which are the essence of “know-what” knowledge, are inadequate. This might be the case, for instance, when there is considerable “noise” in symptomatic information so that the direct link between symptoms and a medical diagnosis is uncertain."
  • "“Know how”-type knowledge permits a professional to determine which treatment or action is best, even in the presence of significant noise."
  • "The highest level of knowledge is “know-why” knowledge. At this level, an individual has a deep understanding of causal relationships, interactive effects and the uncertainty levels associated with observed stimuli or symptoms. This will usually involve an understanding of underlying theory and/or a range of experience that includes many instances of anomalies, interaction effects, and exceptions to the norms and conventional wisdom of an area."


W.R. King (ed.), Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning, 3 Annals of Information Systems 4, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-0011-1_1, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

'Knowledge management and organizational learning' is referenced in: